Have you been burning the candle at both ends? Then try these ideas. Judith Newman shows you how to give peace a chance.
Shout, Shout, Let it All Out
"Shouting or singing loudly is a process of letting go. In that respect, it's related to other soothing exercises that utilize deep breathing, like yoga," says New York yoga instructor Carol Dickman. Here's why: When you're blowing off steam, you're also sucking in oxygen—infusing yourself with it, which is known to relax the body. At the same time, you're counteracting the shallow, rapid chest-puffing that is a hallmark of anxiety.
Rub a Dub [HOT] Tub
There's a good reason we soak in hot rather than cool water when we want to relax: After the body adjusts to the shock of the heat, the blood vessels dilate and blood pressure goes down. Sometimes way down, which is why hot tubbers are advised not to soak for more than 15 minutes.
Happy Feet: Get a Pedicure
It's not the glossy lacquer that puts us in a pleasant frame of mind; rather it's the caressing of the digits. Massage has been shown in countless studies to reduce blood pressure, and it also seems to ease anxiety. In a 1996 study at the University of Miami's Touch Research Institute, 26 subjects received a massage in a chair twice a week while another 24 people were told just to relax in their chairs for 15 minutes. After five weeks, the massaged subjects scored significantly lower on tests for depression and job stress.
From the October 2002 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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